Sunday, April 26, 2009

France Says Studying Four Possible Swine-Flu Cases (Update1)

By Rudy Ruitenberg

April 26 (Bloomberg) -- French health officials said they’re studying four possible cases of swine flu in the north of the country.

Test results should be available within 24 hours, said Francoise Weber, director-general of the Sanitary Surveillance Institute, at a news conference in Paris today. Three of the cases are in one family in the north, while the fourth is a woman in the Paris region, she said.

The World Health Organization yesterday called the outbreak of swine flu from Mexico a “public health emergency of international concern.” The virus is linked to 81 deaths in Mexico, and 11 flu cases in the U.S., all of them mild, have been connected as well.

“We’re probably seeing the tip of the iceberg,” Weber said. The flu type looks to be “the worst form, it affects people who are young and mostly in good health,” she said.

Two suspected cases in the south and southwest of France were determined not to be swine flu, Weber said. The country has posted notices at airports including Paris’s Charles de Gaulle advising those traveling from Mexico to contact a doctor in case of flu-like symptoms.

“France is particularly well prepared for a flu pandemic,” Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin said at the news conference. “Our country is particularly well prepared with very large stocks of masks and antiviral products.”


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